Now you know: Dec. 13, 2023

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless day services, front range rail and more


Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to offer day services

The Boulder Shelter for the Homeless is working to open a day services center at its existing overnight location, the City announced Dec. 12.

The day services center will include multiple housing and social services with a focus on housing-related case management and coordinated entry, according to the City’s website. BSH CEO Mike Block said in the release that the expansion will make “our entire homeless response system more robust and solution oriented, resulting in more people finding a permanent home.”

The day services center was previously set for a new location at 1844 Folsom St., but the owner and developer withdrew from the process this summer. 

BSH, which is currently open from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., was not previously considered as a potential location for the center because its operating agreement bars it from being open during the day except during critical weather. The shelter will need to submit a conditional use application and management plan, subject to City staff review, to allow for the addition of day services. 

Neighbors will have a chance to provide feedback at a public meeting, which is required by City code, in early 2024. The day services center is set to open later this winter.

Lawsuit over modular home factory dismissed 

A lawsuit seeking to block the construction of a modular home factory in East Boulder was dismissed by a Boulder County District judge, Boulder Reporting Lab reports.  

Construction on the factory has already begun. The property is owned by BVSD, one of the defendants in the suit along with the City of Boulder and Boulder City Council. BVSD plans to provide educational courses at the factory while Boulder plans to build energy-efficient modular dwellings to replace older manufactured houses at the Ponderosa Mobile Home Park in North Boulder. 

The plaintiffs, two residents who live near the Sombrero Marsh open space, argued in a Jan. 11 lawsuit that the project violates zoning laws that prohibit manufacturing uses and that Council “erred abused its discretion, or otherwise improperly acted” in approving the project. They also raise concerns about noise, traffic and environmental risks.

The judge dismissed the suit in a Nov. 22 order on the grounds of BVSD’s sovereign status, stating that the school district “cannot be obstructed in its educational mission by local zoning law unless they agree to follow it.” 

Front Range passenger rail to receive federal funding 

Federal dollars are coming to the highly anticipated Front Range passenger rail (FRPR) project. 

The Federal Railroad Administration selected the project for an initial $500,000 in funding to kick off development efforts, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) announced Dec. 6. The project is also one of 69 corridors chosen in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Corridor ID program, which is intended to expand intercity passenger rail systems.

“This corridor stretches across more than 160 miles, connecting 13 of the most populous counties across the state and acting as a transportation ‘spine’ for the Front Range,” said Congressman Joe Neguse in a statement. “I am excited to see this project become a reality for our growing communities.” 

Plans for the corridor have been in the works for decades, and the Rail Commission was re-established in 2017 to facilitate development of a Front Range passenger rail. To date, the project has received $4.4 million in State funding to advance Corridor development activities, according to FRPR’s grant application

Still, the program will probably need taxpayer dollars to move forward. The FRPR District will likely put a measure on the ballot for a new sales and use tax in the next few years, according to its website. The FRPR District estimates the first train won’t be operational for another 10-15 years. 

Last Boulder City Council seat filled

The new Boulder City Council members were sworn into office Dec. 7, following a recount that placed Ryan Schuchard in the final council seat, 46 votes ahead of fifth-place candidate Terri Brncic. 

Schuchard, Tina Marquis and Taishya Adams are each first-time Council-elects, and Tara Winer began her second term. Aaron Brockett began his second term as mayor. 

Nicole Speer was chosen as mayor pro tem in Thursday’s meeting after Winer withdrew her nomination for the position. The mayor pro tem assumes the mayor’s duties when the mayor isn’t present. 

Kids name City snow plows for third year 

As snow begins to fall on the streets of Boulder, keep an eye out for Snowbi-wan Kenobi, Deion Snowders, Mr. Plowtato Head and Plowy McPlowface — each one of the 17 newly named snowplows. 

This marks the third year the City’s plows have been named by Boulder students, and this year saw the addition of seven more plows, according to a City of Boulder release.  

Winning names also included: ​​Snowmuch Fun, Pizza, Zamboni, Plowie Wowie, Luke Snowalker, Nikola Snowkic, King Scoopers, Lightning McPlow, C3-Plow-O, Snow Trooper, Plowasaurus Rex, Ka-Plow! and Brrring Back Summer. 

In other news… 

  • Front Range Community College and Colorado School of Mines announced a partnership that will give FRCC engineering students accepted to the new Mines Academy program guaranteed admission to any four-year degree program at Colorado School of Mines. These students will begin their education by pursuing an Associate in Engineering Science at FRCC, and relevant coursework will apply to their Mines degree program. The program can save students more than $16,000, according to its website
  • A new solar garden is set to begin construction in 2024. The project, located in Longmont, is part of a program that aims to help lower-income households reduce their energy bills through donated energy bill credits and is set to provide reduced bills to more than 1,000 families, according to a Pivot Energy press release.
  • The Prime Effect brought big bucks to the city, according to a release from Visit Boulder. The Buffs’ six home games generated an estimated $113.2 million in economic impact, including direct, indirect and induced effects, which includes spending by local businesses and employees through generated income as well as spending outside the local economy. $72.1 million of that was direct spending.